Archive for January, 2012
Do not be afraid; just have faith. The Gospel portrays Jesus as divine healer and author of life. What is common to the synagogue official named Jairus and the woman afflicted with hemorrhages is their complete faith in Jesus. While the disciples and the people from the official’s house express their doubts, Jairus and the woman believe in the power of Jesus. They place all their hope in Jesus.
We may stumble and sin. We may ignore God or turn away from God. But God never condemns or abandons us. Jesus tells us, “Talitha koum!” Arise!
Present to Jesus what you want him to heal in you and in your loved ones.
If one admits the existence of the devil, one must also admit the possibility of diabolical activity in our world. There are two types of diabolical activities: ordinary and extraordinary. Ordinary diabolical activity usually occurs when the devil incites a person to commit sin and do evil. While extraordinary diabolical activity occurs when the devil invades the body and exercises despotic dominions over the organs and faculties of individual human being. This is what happens in diabolical possession, the highest form of diabolical activity.
There are two factors involved in diabolical possession: presence of the devil in the body and exercise of diabolical power in the body and through the body. Symptoms which are usually indicative of diabolical possession are: the person being possessed can speak and understand previously unknown language; recognize things at a distance or hidden from view; and lastly, exhibits extraordinary strenght far beyond his age or particular condition. During diabolical possession there will be seizures, convulsions, obscene words and deeds, unreasonable and extreme anger and irreverence. What is also something clear is that the possessed is not conscious of what is happening and has no recollection of what had happened when he recovers from that period of crisis.
Considering all these, we can somehow conclude that diabolical possession is a tangible proof of the existence of the devil and a visible manifestation of his power.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus expels the demon from the demoniac in the synagogue. In expelling the demon Jesus proves himself as the fulfilment of the promised Messiah. A messiah anointed by the Spirit and sent by the Father to save us from our slavery to sin and from the dominion and oppresion of Satan and evil ones. In setting free the demoniac from diabolical possesion he shows us that he has the power over the supernatural world. He has the power over the devil and evil ones.
Exorcism, like preaching and miracles, is an essential part of the ministry of Jesus which is centered on the establishment of God’s imminent reign. Exorcism was Jesus’ chief weapons in the struggle with Satan (Mk 3:22-27), defeating the power of evil and liberating humanity; that is why a miracle is a dynamis or “act of power.” Jesus’ exorcism was not simple kind deed done to aid the individuals; they were concrete way of proclaiming and effecting God’s triumph over the powers of evil in the final hour. The exorcism was sign and partial realization of what was about to come fully in the kingdom.
As we go on with the celebration of the Mass, once again let us be reminded that the devil and his diabolical powers and influences exist. Let us, therefore, ask the Lord to anticipate our needs and keep us from falling. Then let us guard ourselves against the snares of the devil as we keep on pursuing and growing in the life of holiness all the days of our lives. As St. Peters exhorts: “Discipline yourselves, keep alert. Like a roaring lion your adversary the devil prowls around, looking for someone to devour. Resist him, steadfast in your faith, for you know that your brothers and sisters in all the world are undergoing the same kinds of suffering. And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, support, strengthen, and establish you.” [1 Pet. 5:6-10]
It is like a mustard seed. Jesus likens the kingdom of God to a mustard seed that is the smallest of seeds but becomes the largest of plants. Good things come from small beginnings. Insignificant things can become important; the ordinary can turn out to be special. There is always room for growth and improvement, for change and progress.
Small or insignificant, simple or ordinary, we are valuable in God’s eyes. We can contribute a lot and make a difference. God is always with us and will not give up on us. God gives us everything we need to progress in life and grow in grace. God even moves people to help us.
I will always do great and good things, even if unnoticed.
I will walk the way of holiness, no matter how rough and rugged it may be.
Whoever does the will of God. Jesus is not rejecting his family. He is not denying who his mother is and who his relatives are. What he is doing is not limiting his family to blood relationship. Belonging to God’s family comes with hearing God’s word and living God’s will. In fact, this is what Jesus’ mother Mary is to an eminent degree, especially as Luke describes her fiat to God’s will and her keeping all things as they happen and reflecting on them in her heart (Lk 1:38; 2:19, 51)
If we make God’s will our will and God’s ways our ways, we are brothers and sisters to Jesus. If we live God’s word, we establish a new and deeper bond with Jesus, a kinship or family relationship with him. This is an effective way to belong to Jesus.
What is God’s will for me and for my family?
How do I fulfill it? What are the things or persons that hinder me from doing God’s will?
If a kingdom is divided against itself. To discredit Jesus, the Pharisees accuse Jesus of conniving with the prince of demons. They attribute his healing power to Beelzebul. In reply, Jesus points to the absurdity of Satan fighting against Satan and explains that a kingdom divided against itself cannot stand.
As we follow Jesus, we may also be wrongly accused and ridiculed, questioned and misunderstood. Our initiatives and plans may be rejected. But because we work for God, it is God whom we have to please with our actions. And we have to stay close to Jesus.
With Jesus on our side, we can overcome sin and Satan. With Jesus, we will be united; we will not fall and fail.
Do we take Jesus as the source of our strength and the solid foundation of our life?
Do we hold on to Jesus when storms and setbacks beset us?
He called them. Jesus begins his public ministry with a call. First, it is a call to repent and believe in the gospel. With this call to conversion and change of heart, Jesus wants people to turn to God, align their ways to God’s will, and surrender their lives to God. Second, it is a call to follow him, to be fishers of men, to be part of his ministry, to be his apostles.
Jesus calls four men to be his first disciples—Simon and his brother Andrew, James and his brother John. No words are spoken by way of their response. But their actions speak for the men: they leave everything—nets, boats, and families—to follow Jesus.
The first disciples are not men of great theological education, with wide social influence, or with impressive social background. And yet Jesus chooses them to be and work with him. The work of Jesus is not in the hands of men and women whom the world considers great and famous, but in the hands of ordinary people like us who are willing to give God our life, our time, and our talents.
What are we willing to let go so we can be sure that we have Jesus in our lives?
He is out of his mind. Why do the relatives of Jesus question his sanity? Jesus has left the comfort and security of his family and home, abandoned his profession as a carpenter, and embraced the life of an itinerant preacher. Jesus has given up everything to be with people.
Jesus is also preaching against the Pharisees and the powers that be. Jesus decries the hypocrisy of the scribes and the Pharisees. He denounces evil and corrects the wrong.
At the same time, Jesus associates with people whom Jewish society rejects. He is patient and merciful with sinners. He has compassion on those who are suffering.
We all belong to Jesus’ family. His preoccupation is our salvation. His life is completely for us. If he seems out of his mind, it is only for great love of us.
Are we willing to give up comfort and career, power and position, to follow Jesus?
While we will walk the path to eternal life, for some people we will appear insane.